Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am Thankful

A lot of people have been posting on Facebook one thing they are thankful for each day in November leading up to Thanksgiving. I didn't get on board at the beginning of the month, but not for lack of gratefulness. There are very few days that go by that I don't acknowledge internally how thankful I am for something, so I'd like to put it in writing and, after all, "'Tis the season." There are roughly a million things I'm thankful for, but let's narrow it down to the top 29, seeing as I just turned 29!
  1. Mike.
    He makes me laugh. He works so hard for us. He's very kind. He's my favorite!
  2. My family.
    You always hear horror stories about this time of year and dealing with difficult family members. My family really is awesome, both Mike's side and mine. I think our wedding best showcased this! :) Thanks for not screwing up the holidays every year, guys!
  3. My friends.
    I have some awesome friends, here in South Texas and all over the country, even the world! You're the average of the 5 people you're around the most and you guys make me awesome! Thanks!
  4. My job.
    The other day I wrote the phrase "Tornado Debris Signature" just as some less fortunate employee might refer to "TPS reports." I'm lucky to have a job in this economy, especially in my chosen field and especially in my circumstances. I'm grateful to WDTB for letting me work from San Antonio!
  5. Our home.
    We have a great little home in a nice neighborhood that's close to all kinds of restaurants, stores and other activities. Mike did a lot of research before we moved down here and it paid off big time!
  6. My health.
    So many people have to face challenging health problems every day. I haven't so much as broken a bone. I try to stack the deck by eating healthy and exercising, but I know that there's a chance I may be diagnosed with an unavoidable illness. Until then, I'm grateful for what I have!
  7. Financial stability.
    With the economy as it is, many people have to make tough decisions about how to spend their money these days. The holidays can be especially hard on those who've lost their jobs or are underemployed. I'm thankful that we can afford all that we need to live comfortably. 
  8. I'm an American.
    With all the talk about the planet reaching a population of 7 billion people, I can't help but think about how lucky I was to be born in America to a nice, well-educated couple who could afford to give me all I needed and then some. What are the odds? Probably not good. There's a lot of frustration in America, today, but at least we can express it freely without worrying about persecution. This happens in many other countries, too, but there are still so many where this is not the reality. We are so lucky.
  9. My education.
    My parents started me out right with a great education at a great school. I then continued down that path at OU with a bachelor's and a masters. I'm very thankful that I got both degrees "out of the way" before marriage and kids. I will now have more doors open to me and also have the freedom to focus on raising a family when I'm ready!
  10. My kitchen.
    Mike spent countless hours redoing our kitchen. It's beautiful and I love cooking in it. It really does make a difference having the appliances and equipment I need to make healthy meals for us. It also helps that there's an extra mouth to feed!
  11. My car.
    The Runner turned eleven this year. Eleven! She runs like a champ, too. She just had her 150,000 mile maintenance and the mechanic and service associate were both impressed at what great condition she's in! She gets me where I need to go and looks cute doing it! My kind of car!
  12. Modern day appliances.
    Many times when I throw in a load of laundry or toss a detergent capsule in the dishwasher I think of how these appliances allow me to live my life the way I'd like. Can you imagine if we had to wash our clothes and linens by hand? That would take all weekend!!
  13. San Antonio.
    There is always something going on here. When we have friends and family visit, there's always a cool restaurant or attraction to which we can take them. There are plenty of races/triathlons/duathlons/etc. in the area, too. The weather isn't bad either. ;)
  14. The cat and the chickens.
    Our animals provide a seemingly endless source of entertainment around our house. Whether its hearing the cat chase her toy mousey down the hall on the hardwood floor or going out into the backyard to be greeted by a bunch of noisy chickens, they'll bring a smile to your face. I've heard that people who own pets are less stressed than those who don't. I can certainly see why!
  15. Travel.
    I was able to travel to so many fun places this year: Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, Lake Tahoe, and Virginia Beach/DC. I was also able to visit friends and family in Wichita and Norman a couple times. 
  16. Technology.
    Today's technology (cell phones, web cams, online social networks, e-mail, etc.) have made it very easy to keep in touch with friends and family. I can e-mail pictures to my family immediately after taking them. I can keep track of old friends through Facebook. Of course, it also helps me keep my friends and family updated through this blog!
  17. Fitness opportunities.
    By this I mean races, fitness classes, a gym membership, roads and sidewalks to run and bike on, and the like. Being in the Austin/San Antonio area, there is no shortage of races (running, biking, multisport, etc.) Since moving down here I've completed 3 triathlons, 2 duathlons, many running races, and the list goes on. There's always something going on in the area every weekend and with a gym less than 5 min away and a nice neighborhood, green belts, and an ever extending Riverwalk there's plenty of places to train! 
  18. Good grocery stores.
    This one seems silly, but it really isn't. When I lived in Norman, the grocery store options were pretty sad: Wal-mart, Target, Homeland. :( When I left there was talk of a Whole Foods in North OKC, but I'm not sure if that's happened yet. Even the Norman Farmer's Market had stuff shipped in from California. Here in San Antonio we're very close to Central Market and several nice HEB's. Food shopping is a lot more fun down here!
  19. Good restaurants.
    Since moving to San Antonio, I've use and the Yelp app to discover great new places to eat here in town and when we're on the road. Mike and I prefer to eat a local restaurants as opposed to national chains. San Antonio has a lot of great local places, especially near us! 
  20. Weather.
    The weather in South Texas is awesome (well, it is this time of year), but I'll be honest, it can be a bit boring. What I've always liked about severe and winter weather is that it shows us that we're not invincible. It's almost like another frontier to be tamed. We don't need to control it, but we still haven't quite figured out how to keep ourselves completely safe from it. Maybe we will one day, but until then weather (and perhaps climate) is nature's way of keeping humans in check.
  21. Our military.
    I'm a very lucky Air Force wife. Mike works long hours (a 12-hour day is very normal for him) and I know it can be stressful for him, but he does come home every night. Many of our service members are frequently deployed and many to very rough locations. Many military families live apart for various reasons. I'm thankful for all our service members and their supportive families! 
  22. Animal welfare organizations.
    I'm definitely an animal lover. So much so that I literally can't stand to see an animal in pain. So while I'd like to volunteer at a shelter or go rescue abused animals, I just couldn't do it. That's why I'm thankful for the many organizations that stand up for animals' rights. Sometimes I wish I could save all the kitties out on the streets and in shelters, but knowing that I saved one and gave her a good home makes me feel a little better.
  23. Road trip to Wichita.
    I've driven up and down Interstate 35 countless times, mostly by myself. Norman to Wichita. Wichita to Kansas City. Norman to Kansas City. Norman to Dallas. Norman to San Antonio. San Antonio to Norman. San Antonio to Austin. The list goes on... This Thanksgiving, I get to do it with Mike, Geoff, Ellie and my Aunt Rhonda. We're going to be saving thousands in airfare by piling in Rhonda's van for a 10-hour trip from San Antonio to Wichita. Armed with snacks, trivial pursuit cards, iPhones, an iPad and laptops, it's sure to be a fun time!
  24. Recycling.
    Mike and I only leave our trash out to be picked up every 2-3 weeks because San Antonio has such a great recycling program. We can throw paper, cardboard, plastic, steel, and aluminum all in one big bin! I hate making a lot of trash and we try to limit waste as much as we can, but it's hard to avoid it entirely!
  25. Laughter.
    I laugh at a lot of stuff and I generally prefer comedies to drama. It warms my heart when I make people laugh. Anyone who knows Mike knows I married the right guy. :)
  26. Cooking.
    I'm glad I enjoy cooking. I think it might be a control thing. I'd rather have whole, healthy meals than something fast or fancy. 
  27. Warm, comfy clothes in winter.
    There are fewer opportunities to dress warmly in San Antonio, and for that I'm appreciative. I've never been a fan of wearing 5+ layers of clothing. However, I do enjoy relaxing on a cold evening in a nice pair of sweat pants, a sweat shirt and some comfy, warm socks and then burying myself under a blanket and watching TV or reading. That's what winter was made for!
  28. New media channels.
    This summer Mike and I noticed we weren't watching enough television to justify our high cable bill. We decided that a HuluPlus membership in addition to our Netflix membership would be plenty. The only thing we'd really miss is live sports and we usually went to watch parties for those, anyway. We've saved almost $100 per month and we invested in an antenna that gets all the major networks in perfectly clear HD, so we can still sometimes get OU and LSU football games. Also, in the mornings, instead of watching local news and Good Morning America, I listen to NPR on my phone. It's so nice not to hear the latest on Dancing with the Stars or what Charlie Sheen or Tiger Woods is up to. 
  29. My creativity.
    I've never considered myself an artist and I can't draw to save my life, but it turns out all those years I spent playing in Microsoft Paint meant something after all. I've been able to find some creative outlets with scrapbooking and, to some extent, this blog. I've even been able to make a niche for myself at work. Often times people will create content for our training and hand it over to me to "make it pretty." Which I really love doing! :) 

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